ReFED releases interactive tools to track food waste regulations, innovations
- The nonprofit ReFED has released two new interactive tools aimed at improving understanding and collaboration around its goal of reducing food waste in the U.S.
- The Food Waste Innovator Database features a map with information on more than 400 commercial or nonprofit entities involved in reducing and recovering wasted food. These groups are broken into 13 categories related to prevention, recovery and recycling.
- The Food Waste Policy Finder is a separate interactive map that shows where state and local policies have been enacted related to organic waste disposal bans, date labeling, donation liability and other areas. This was created with the help of the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic (HFLPC).
Since it launched in 2015 with an economic breakdown of 27 solutions to cutting food waste in half by 2030, ReFED has become a prime source of information for the vast array of players involved in that effort. The release of these tools, as well as the recent announcement of a new executive director, marks a new phase in their work.
Showing that consumer education and date label standardization can provide more economic benefits than just collecting all available material for composting or anaerobic digestion has helped shape the conversation at a variety of levels. Within the past year this has led to more attention around date labels and liability protections, including federal legislation and voluntary changes from manufacturers. Earlier this year, a large group of government and nonprofit partners also launched an online resource hub called Further With Food to help gather the growing number of projects in one place.
As elected officials at the state and local level work through their own policy proposals, it could be helpful to have a resource for comparison. For example, New York recently passed a state tax credit for farmers that donate food but couldn't reach an agreement on a commercial diversion requirement due to resistance from some large generators. These tools could also be helpful for new or existing companies in the industry that want to ensure compliance with local regulations or identify potential business opportunities created by their enactment.
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